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News Release

Canada’s Privacy Commissioner Awards $454,000 for privacy research and awareness

OTTAWA, May 29, 2009 —The Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jennifer Stoddart, announced today the recipients of the Office’s 2009-2010 Contributions Program – $454,697 is being made available to 11 different organizations across Canada.
 
This year, the program will provide funding for research into privacy issues as well as for public awareness aimed at advancing privacy rights, especially among underserved groups like the deaf, seniors and youth. This work will cover issues of growing importance to Canadians, including genetic privacy, video surveillance, social networking, identity theft and deep packet inspection.

“I’m proud that our Office is able to help encourage relevant and cutting-edge research. I am also glad that we can work with established organizations to spread knowledge about the importance of privacy, especially to groups in society who need it,” says Ms Stoddart.

This year’s projects involve research initiatives that focus on the Office’s four key privacy priority areas: national security, identity integrity and protection, information technology, and genetic privacy.

Some of the projects supported by the program will encourage an understanding of privacy rights among specific groups of Canadians —for example, the hearing impaired and the elderly.

“We will be helping to protect the more vulnerable, to better equip them to protect their personal information,” says Ms Stoddart. “This can help reduce their risk of becoming victims of identity theft.”

Other projects include examining the privacy policies of genetic testing facilities and examining whether health information is adequately protected through existing legislation.

Research on the privacy impact of social networking and deep packet inspection are also projects being funded, as is the creation of an online privacy information portal in Quebec.  

Created in 2004 to support non-profit research on privacy, further privacy policy development, and promote the protection of personal information in Canada, the Contributions Program is highly regarded and considered one of the foremost privacy research funding programs in the world. To date, the program has allocated close to $2 million to more than 50 initiatives in Canada.

“The projects are all very timely and will foster valuable research and awareness,” says Jacques Saint Laurent, President of the Commission d'accès à l'information du Québec. “I congratulate the OPC on its involvement in such a beneficial program and look forward to the results of this important work.”

Here are some brief details on the eleven projects the OPC will be funding this year:

Recipients of the 6th Annual Privacy Research Contributions Program

Organization

Project

Amount

Canadian Association of the Deaf

Public education campaign to inform Canadians with hearing impairments about identity theft, privacy rights and Internet scams

$49,855.00

International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP Canada)

Bring free privacy education workshops to Canadian cities to serve local privacy and information security professionals     

$48,440.00

Coopérative radiophonique de Toronto
(CHOQ-FM)

Roll-out an awareness campaign about the Canadian privacy protection framework aimed at Francophone minorities in Ontario, as well as Francophone minority groups elsewhere outside Quebec.

$48,750.00

Option Consommateurs

Host awareness seminars on identity theft and privacy protection aimed at seniors

$25,000.00

Association sur l’accès et la protection de l’information (AAPI)

Create a portal that will contain fact sheets, brochures, games, quizzes, videos and links to information regarding privacy

$15,000.00

University of Guelph
Department of Psychology

Advance the understanding of information sharing on Facebook by high school students and adults through a literature review and survey

$49,991.42

University of Alberta
Health Law Institute

Examine the privacy polices and practices of a sample of direct to consumer genetic testing companies to assess their compliance with PIPEDA 

$49,450.00

University of Victoria
Department of Political Science

Develop a repository of information about Deep-Packet Inspection in Canada, including what it is, how and why it’s used

$28,211.00

Memorial University

Study the attitudes of residents of Newfoundland and Labrador relative to the importance they place on the privacy of their personal health information

$50,000.00

Union des consommateurs

Study existing legislation to determine if it ensures the safeguarding of Canadians’ health information

$40,000.00

Queen’s University

Build on research by the Surveillance Camera Awareness Network, organize a workshop, and commission papers on privacy and camera surveillance   

$50,000.00

The OPC received 49 funding proposals for this year’s program. Each proposal was weighed on its merit and recipients were selected after a rigorous screening process. These projects are expected to be completed in 2010.

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by Parliament to act as an ombudsman, advocate and guardian of privacy and the protection of personal information rights of Canadians.

For more details about this year’s projects, please see our Backgrounder.

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For more information about the Contributions Program and/or media interview requests, contact:

Jenn Gearey
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Tel: (613) 995-1048
Email: jgearey@privcom.gc.ca